The Gujarat Lions travel to Bangalore today in a clash of the bottom dwellers. With the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) called off in Bangalore without a ball being bowled due to rain on Tuesday, Bangalore had to split the point with SRH. They now have just five points from eight games and are lying sixth in the points table, and stand to qualify for the playoffs only if they win the remainder of their league matches, a feat that seems unimaginable considering RCB’s current form. The Gujarat Lions have fared no better, having also won just two games in their seven matches. After a fine run to last season’s play-offs, they have stumbled this year. Perhaps realizing that a depleted bowling attack is not going to win them many games, the management has put faith in the overseas batsmen. But it hasn’t worked frequently enough, as evidenced by where Gujarat are on the points table. They can take hope from their defeat of table toppers Kolkata Knightriders last week, and hope their batting holds.
The home team did not reveal a playing XI for the wash-out on Tuesday but after 49 all out, batting changes can be expected. Mandeep Singh, with an average of 10.83 after six innings, looks likeliest to be cut from the batting order. Sachin Baby or Vishnu Vinod are the candidates to fill in. Stuart Binny also has poor numbers, and could be replaced by Harpreet Singh.
The arrival of Irfan Pathan as a replacement for Dwayne Bravo gives the team a handy all-round option, and it could be that he is used against RCB. The 32-year-old brings to the squad the value of 102 IPL games, in which he has 80 wickets and 1137 runs at a strike-rate of 120.57 which could prove handy down the order. Should Irfan play, it would likely be at the expense of benching Akshdeep Nath who was out first ball against Kings XI Punjab.
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
April 27, 2017
RCB Probable XI: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Virat Kohli (capt), 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Kedar Jadhav (wk), 5 Sachin Baby/Vishnu Vinod, 6 Stuart Binny/Harpreet Singh, 7 Pawan Negi, 8 Yuzvendra Chahal, 9 Adam Milne/Tymal Mills, 10 Samuel Badree, 11 S Aravind
GL Probable XI: 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Aaron Finch, 3 Suresh Raina (capt), 4 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 5 Dwayne Smith, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Akshdeep Nath/Irfan Pathan, 8 Andrew Tye, 9 Basil Thampi, 10 Shubham Agarwal, 11 Nathu Singh
Head to head record:
Out of 4 matches RCB Won 3 on the other side Gujrat won 1
- RCB will expect their Big Three – Gayle, Kohli and ABD to fire in a match that is expected to depend a lot on how the batters fare on each side.
- Skipper Raina will look to the latest draftee Irfan Pathan to perform both with the bat and the ball, with the Gujarat Lions needing help in both.
- Gujarat’s bowlers have taken the least wickets of all eight franchises – 31 . The biggest margins of victory by wickets this season have come against Gujarat – by ten and nine respectively. RCB batsmen will look to exploit their low confidence and post a big score.